Twenty-seven-point lead? Check.
Second triple-double for Rajon Rondo in as many nights? Check.
Winning the battle-of-the-benches by a country mile? Check.
Staying virtually even on the boards, shooting 100% at the line and outshooting your opponent from the field? Check, check and check.
Capitalizing on all of these advantages to come out of Atlanta with the win? Weeeeellllll....
On a night when all of these things did, in fact happen, the Celtics somehow found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a completely new way. Surprising just about everyone with their absolute dominance of the 24-18 Atlanta Hawks, who came out paper-flat to start the first half of the game, the Celtics ran out to a 27-point lead in the 2nd quarter and managed to hold off a small rally to enter the half up 19.
Jeff Green was a major factor (bet you didn't see THOSE words coming!) in this game scoring 17 points and netting 6 rebounds, and he was joined by a much-improved Courtney Lee with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. With an additional 12 points from Jason Terry, the Celtics bench completely buried the Hawk's reserves by a count of 45 to 21.
So how in the name of Big Bird could the Celtics lose this one? Two words:
Oh, and the Celtics' 21 turnovers (6 from Rondo and 5 from Pierce) to the Hawks' 12 didn't help matters much.
Once again...the Celtics showed flashes of what could be, followed -- unfortunately -- by player and fan alike left dreaming about what might have been.
Broken record here, folks, but consistency is the issue and discipline is the only way that these C's are going to get the job done. I still believe it can and will happen -- I just hope that it's before they lock up the race for the 9th spot in the Playoffs.
Heat on Sunday. The Return of Ray-Ray. Impeccable timing. Yay.
Tale Of The Tape